What happened to the maverick epics of old? Intricate, wild auteur visions of cinematic wonder that produced multiple behind the scenes tales and several significant pop culture moments. We’re talking about the grand spectacle of William Wyler’s Ben-Hur, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and indeed, the many films of Francis Ford Coppola, including Apocalypse Now and The Godfather.
At one point the most pertinent filmmaker in all of Hollywood cinema, Coppola dominated the industry in the 1970s with his special cinematic visions that constantly pushed the boundaries of popular moviemaking. Though he certainly peaked in the ‘70s with The Godfather series as well as the thriller The Conversation, Coppola remained an influential figure throughout the rest of the century thanks to his contributions to the industry.
After dropping off from filmmaking in the 21st century, Coppola has promised to make a return with the forthcoming movie Megalopolis, a passion project that has existed in the filmmaker’s mind since the days of Apocalypse Now.
Announcing in April 2019 that he would be officially taking on the project, Coppola has since put $120 million into the making of the forthcoming film in his mission to make one of the most ambitious films ever made. Speaking to Deadline, Coppola discussed his excitement for the project, explaining, “I plan this year to begin my longstanding ambition to make a major work utilizing all I have learned during my long career, beginning at age 16 doing theatre, and that will be an epic on a grand scale, which I’ve titled Megalopolis”.
So, what is Megalopolis about?
“It’s a love story,” Coppola told GQ in a recent interview, “A woman is divided between loyalties to two men. But not only two men. Each man comes with a philosophical principle. One is her father who raised her, who taught her Latin on his lap…the other one, who is the lover, is the enemy of the father but is dedicated to a much more progressive…’Let’s find what we really are’.
If that somewhat cryptic synopsis didn’t whet your appetite, a more straightforward plot for the film outlines it as a film about the reconstruction of New York City after a massive disaster and financial crisis cripples the iconic American metropolitan focal point.
A film about social utopia and the possibility of crafting a better world, Coppola’s brand new film sounds like a noble project with ambitious heights of success. As the filmmaker told GQ, “I know that Megalopolis, the more personal I make it, and the more like a dream in me that I do it, the harder it will be to finance. And the longer it will earn money because people will be spending the next 50 years trying to think: What’s really in Megalopolis? What is he saying? My God, what does that mean when that happens?”.
Who is starring in Megalopolis?
With Francis Ford Coppola still working out the details of his epic script for Megalopolis, the list of cast members is still yet to be decided, though this hasn’t stopped the filmmaker from personally picking out an ensemble of specially picked actors. Casting the net wide, it is rumoured that the group of actors Coppola has been courting is substantial, in talks with modern screen stars as well as classic collaborators.
So far, the likes of Oscar Isaac, Forest Whitaker, Cate Blanchett, Jon Voight, Zendaya, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange have been picked out, as well as James Caan who Coppola is keen to work with over 50 years after they collaborated on The Godfather.
With the self-financed millions of $100 to $120m, expect Coppola to shell out on an incredible cast.
When will Megalopolis be released?
As previously discussed Megalopolis has been in the think tank since 1979, with Francis Ford Coppola keen to make his passion project into the best possible cinematic epic. As a result, we think it would be realistic to expect the film anytime from 2024-2025, with the next few years due to be a media whirlwind of rumours and excitement leading up to the release of one of the most anticipated films of the 21st century.
Whilst we await the distant arrival of the science fiction film, why not enjoy the trailer for Apocalypse Now, below, to prepare yourself for the insane grandeur of Megalopolis.